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Entries in Andy Serkis (12)

Friday
Jun012018

YNMS x 2: Mowgli and Christopher Robin

by Nathaniel R

grrrr. oink. hsss. squeak. 'oh bother'. oohoohahah. and other animal noises.

The multiplex has a serious animal infestations coming up with Christopher Robin and yet another adaptation of The Jungle Book called Mowgli coming up in the next handful of months. Have you caught their trailers?

Let's break them down with our Yes No Maybe So™ practice after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec072017

The New York Times' Great Performers' Shorts, Ranked

by Ilich Mejia

Every year, The New York Times Magazine picks their greatest performers of the year. This year's top ten each got to star in their own silent, "Horror Show" themed short. Italian-Canadian photographer Floria Sigismondi directed the group as characters that wouldn't be out of place in Beyoncé's haunted house. Hopefully next year, the magazine will branch out and recognize some of television's equally terrific performances. Check out the spooky standouts after the cut...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul032017

Andy Serkis's Directorial Debut Arrives This Year

Chris here. With War for the Planet of the Apes arriving in theatres next weekend, we're already seeing the reawakened thinkpieces about an honorary Oscar for Andy Serkis that comes with what seems every motion capture performance from the actor. But now we can add another level to his multi-hyphenate talent as the risk-taker is now taking up the directing reigns with this fall's Breathe.

The true story tragic romance stars recent Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield as the polio-stricken Robin Cavendish, with The Crown's Claire Foy as his wife Diana. This is technically Serkis's second directorial effort, with his take on The Jungle Book filmed prior and now in CGI-heavy post-production. Jungle is maybe a more expected journey for the motion capture virtuoso, so Breathe makes a somewhat more intriguing choice despite it's quite familiar plot. Perhaps it's the film's spirit of innovation that calls to him, as Cavendish helped create a wheelchair equipped with a respirator.

Breathe will open the London Film Festival and open stateside on October 13. Take a look at the trailer and tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Friday
Apr072017

First Look at Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy in "Breathe"

by Murtada

While we wait for Nathaniel’s first Oscar predictions of the 2017 season (soon) let's discuss one of the films that might contend, Andy Serkis’ Breathe. The new drama announced an October 27th release date in the UK with a US plan still forthcoming. A la The Theory of Everything (2014) it is the true life story of a marriage altered by disease. Based on the life story of its producer, Jonathan Cavendish’s parents, Breathe, is about a man who is struck by Polio in his late 20s...

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Wednesday
Jul292015

Actors Love "Tootsie". And Other Discoveries

By now you've surely seen Time Out's "100 Best Movies" list. The hook and unusual angle is that the list is comprised solely from ballots of actors. Actors are famously impressionable of course so you get embarrassing things like the barely-out-of-the-oven Whiplash (2014) as one of the 100 best movies of all time but it's still an interesting list. #1 is not your usual Citizen Kane/Vertigo type deal (only one of those two makes the list) but is awarded to the classic comedy Tootsie (1982).

(And, no, we had no intention of posting two Tootsie related articles within the same 24 hours -- don't miss this piece on The Americans since we wanna know what you think of this new series idea -- but blogging can surprise you.)

The complete Time Out 100 list and 10 discoveries after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov132014

AFI Fest: Weta Digital Celebrates 20 Years with New Technology

Anne Marie here at the AFI Fest with another special event. Weta Digital, the pioneering VFX company behind some of the biggest blockbusters, including the Marvel franchise, Avatar, and The Hobbit, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In  “State of the Art: The Evolution of Weta Digital," Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Lemmon gave audiences a peek behind the digital curtain of Weta Digital’s latest film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to show how the company develops performance capture to assist and augment cinematography.

 Weta Digital is probably best known for its motion capture process (dubbed “performance capture” by James Cameron "because they also capture emotions"). Dan Lemmon explained that this evolved from Andy Serkis filming scenes as Gollum twice for The Lord of the Rings, into a sophisticated system called a “Capture Volume,” a cube of space surrounded by infrared cameras that record the actors’ movements. For Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, director Matt Reeves wanted to shoot the apes on location, so a new “portable” version was developed. The result had a profound effect not only on the technology of performance capture, but also on the look of the film--both digital and real.

Serkis in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Since Avatar won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in 2009, each subsequent winner has been a VFX-heavy film, so the unspoken question was how Weta Digital interacted with Michael Seresin, the cinematographer of Dawn. Shooting on location allowed Seresin to light the ape actors as he would real characters. Then, Weta Digital could match that lighting on the pixelized primates. In addition, Seresin and Reeves developed a look book, pulling images from The Godfather and grittier 70s films. Dan Lemmon explained that Weta’s job was to mimic Seresin’s intentions, for instance digitally creating the vertigo-inducing helicopter shot for the climax. However, Lemmon also proudly pointed out how Weta Digital improved on Seresin’s vision, whether it was by manipulating the light to capture a digital ape’s eyes, or by adding fake “flaws” to the helicopter shot in order to make the synthetic image more real. 

The result of Weta Digital’s collaboration with Seresin is undoubtedly remarkable, and pushes VFX to be accepted as an art, rather than a gimmick. Still, Weta's additions to Seresin's work mark a definite change in the visual landscape of moviemaking. As VFX are integrated from pre-production to filming to post-production and digital effects get clearer, the line between cinematography and visual effects is going to get increasingly muddy.